Linguistics Determiners
by
E. Phoevos Panagiotidis
  • LAST REVIEWED: 12 June 2019
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 April 2014
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199772810-0187

Introduction

Determiners are a nominal syntactic category distinct both from adjectives and nouns, despite the close affinity among them. They are commonly understood to comprise the word classes of article, demonstrative, and quantifier, as well as some possessives and some nominal agreement markers. Determiners became a prominent topic of study in grammatical theory during the 1980s, due both to advances in semantic theorizing, such as Generalized Quantifier Theory, and to the generalization of the X’ phrasal schema to minor (functional) categories, to which determiners are posited to belong. The main questions that have been the focus of theoretical and typological inquiry ever since are the categorial status of determiners (functional or lexical), whether they are universal as a distinct syntactic category, whether they constitute a uniform category or not, their structural position, their feature content, their role in argumenthood and semantic interpretation in general, and their relation to pronouns. Answers to these questions are in part determined by whether one takes determiners to be the nominal equivalent of complementizers (i.e., to constitute the topmost functional layer of the nominal phrase) or to be all quantifiers, defining relations between predicates. At the same time, a wealth of syntactic phenomena involving determiners have been investigated, shedding light not only on the structure of the nominal phrase and on the distribution of nominal features within it, but also on the nature of adjectives, possessives, and nouns.

The Syntactic Status of Determiners

The syntactic status of articles, demonstratives, quantifiers, pronouns, and the related elements has been a matter of intense and fruitful debate since the 1980s, with the popularization of the Determiner Phrase (DP) Hypothesis, according to which determiners are heads projecting their own syntactic constituent. Despite its general currency, the DP hypothesis has faced a lot of criticism both on syntactic and on semantic grounds, and some alternatives have been explored. A related issue is, of course, what qualifies as a determiner and what does not, especially in languages where adjectives, demonstratives, classifiers, nominal quantifiers, nominal agreement, and articles can be hard to tease apart. Similar debates on what is (or is not) syntactically a determiner arise from the realization that topic and focus expressed inside the nominal constituent can be intimately linked to determiner elements.

The DP Hypothesis

Observations that clauses and nominal phrases have a number of common characteristics led a number of scholars during the 1980s to suggest that determiners must be understood as a category that projects phrase structure and that determiners are actually the heads of nominal phrases, essentially making them determiner phrases. In this way, nouns are to determiner phrases what verbs are to complementizer phrases (clauses): not their heads but the lexical category at their heart. This dual hypothesis is known as the “DP Hypothesis”, popularized in Abney 1987. The DP Hypothesis is, however, of many progenitors: Brame 1981 notices the complementizer-determiner homology, Szabolcsi 1983 argues for the head status of determiners, Fukui and Speas 1986 supplies the theoretical background that would enable functional determiners to project phrases, and Horrocks and Stavrou 1987 extends the determiner-complementizer homology by arguing for DP-internal wh-movement. It remains until today the received syntactic account of determiners, and Bernstein 2001 provides a full overview thereof. Extensions to the DP Hypothesis, such as Haegeman 2004, suggest that it can yield a number of empirically significant predictions and results.

  • Abney, Steven Paul. 1987. The English noun phrase in its sentential aspect. PhD diss., Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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    On the basis of the structure of gerunds, Abney builds the argument that determiners are heads, not nominal specifiers: the nominal equivalent of Inflection.

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    • Bernstein, Judy B. 2001. The DP hypothesis: Identifying clausal properties in the nominal domain. In The handbook of contemporary syntactic theory. Edited by Mark Baltin and Chris Collins, 536–561. Blackwell Handbooks in Linguistics. Oxford: Blackwell.

      DOI: 10.1002/9780470756416Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

      An overview of the DP Hypothesis, with a survey of some of the topics involved.

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      • Brame, Michael. 1981. The general theory of binding and fusion. Linguistic Analysis 7.3: 277–325.

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        Determiners are for the first time described as being “head selectors,” on a par with Inflection and Complementizer in the clausal domain.

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        • Fukui, Naoki, and Margaret Speas. 1986. Specifiers and projection. In Papers in theoretical linguistics. Edited by Naoki Fukui, Tova R. Rapoport, and Elizabeth Sagey, 128–172. MIT Working Papers in Linguistics 8. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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          The original argument for a unified X’ schema that would entail that determiners are heads projecting their own phrase.

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          • Haegeman, Liliane. 2004. DP-periphery and clausal periphery: Possessor doubling in West Flemish. In Peripheries: Syntactic edges and their effects. Edited by David Adger, Cécile de Cat, and George Tsoulas, 211–240. Studies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 59. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.

            DOI: 10.1007/1-4020-1910-6_9Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

            Drawing from evidence on possessor extraction from the determiner phrase, the case for determiner as a nominal finiteness head is made.

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            • Horrocks, Geoffrey, and Melita Stavrou. 1987. Bounding theory and Greek syntax: Evidence for wh-movement in NP. Journal of Linguistics 23.1: 79–108.

              DOI: 10.1017/S002222670001104XSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              The first paper observing that the equivalent of wh-movement can be found within some DPs, thus suggesting that determiners are nominal complementizers, complete with a specifier.

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              • Szabolcsi, Anna. 1983. The possessor that ran away from home. Linguistic Review 3.1: 89–102.

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                The original proposal that determiners are heads, hosting possessors in their specifiers, on the basis of evidence from Hungarian.

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                Alternatives to the DP Hypothesis

                Despite its popularity, the DP Hypothesis has also been extensively criticized both on empirical and on theoretical grounds. Criticism begins with whether determiners are truly the heads of nominal constituents, as in Payne 1993 and Bruening 2009. A compromise is Radford 1993, suggesting that nominal phrases are two headed, whereas Szabolcsi 1994 highlights the necessity to separate article-like elements, the nominal equivalent of complementizers, from “true” determiners, which are quantificational or deictic in nature. It is precisely the semantically quantificational nature of determiners that leads Larson 2013 to reject the determiner-complementizer homology completely.

                • Bruening, Benjamin. 2009. Selectional asymmetries between CP and DP suggest that the DP hypothesis is wrong. In Special issue: Proceedings of the 32nd annual Penn Linguistics Colloquium. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics 15.1: 26–35.

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                  A very detailed criticism of the DP Hypothesis, concluding that while complementizers head clauses, nouns, not determiners, head nominal constituents.

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                  • Larson, Richard K. 2013. The projection of DP (and DegP). In On shell structure. By Richard K. Larson. Routledge Leading Linguists. London: Routledge.

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                    The case against the DP hypothesis, especially the complementizer-determiner parallelism, is made on the basis of the interpretation of determiners. Determiners are instead argued to be verb-like elements, projecting arguments and being modified by the nominal modifiers. First published in 2006.

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                    • Payne, John. 1993. The headedness of noun phrases: Slaying the nominal hydra. In Heads in grammatical theory. Edited by Greville G. Corbett, Norman M. Fraser, and Scott McGlashan, 114–139. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                      DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511659454Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                      One of the first detailed criticisms of the DP Hypothesis, especially the idea that determiners head the nominal phrase.

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                      • Radford, Andrew. 1993. Head-hunting: On the trail of the nominal Janus. In Heads in grammatical theory. Edited by Greville G. Corbett, Norman M. Fraser, and Scott McGlashan, 73–113. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                        DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511659454Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                        An attempt to strike a compromise between the merits of the DP Hypothesis and the evidence that nouns are the true heads of nominal phrases results in the proposal that nominal phrases are headed both by the determiner and the noun.

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                        • Szabolcsi, Anna. 1994. The noun phrase. In Syntax and Semantics. Vol. 27, The syntactic structure of Hungarian. Edited by Ferenc Kiefer and Katalin É. Kiss, 179–274. New York: Academic Press.

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                          A proposal to split determiners into article-like elements, which are functional categories akin to complementizers, and quantifiers (i.e., “true” determiners).

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                          Determiners and (Other) Nominal Functional Heads

                          If determiners are the topmost nominal functional category, it is to be expected that they will interact with other functional categories within the nominal domain. Identifying both which these categories are and how they interact with determiners has been the focus of much work. Ritter 1991 provides evidence for a “number” category, Crisma, et al. 2011 discusses the workings of classifier systems, and Borer 2005 offers a theoretically coherent system for the interaction between determiners and the other nominal functional heads. A different approach to this matter is to seek to decompose the determiner category itself into –a number of functional elements, as in Zamparelli 2000 and Ihsane 2008, especially in the face of empirical phenomena suggesting that a unitary determiner category is not enough to explain the interactions that take place within the nominal phrase. An interesting and varied survey of the DP-internal functional landscape is provided in a collective work (Coene and D’hulst 2003) and, in a more unified fashion, in Alexiadou, et al. 2007.

                          • Alexiadou, Artemis, Liliane Haegeman, and Melita Stavrou. 2007. Noun phrase in the generative perspective. Studies in Generative Grammar 71. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

                            DOI: 10.1515/9783110207491Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                            A valuable—in its coverage and thoroughness—survey of the nominal phrase, couched within the DP Hypothesis. It contains an extensive discussion of determiners, of their syntactic function, and of a number of phenomena involving determiners.

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                            • Borer, Hagit. 2005. Structuring sense. Vol. 1, In name only. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                              Borer presents in detail a system of nominal functional elements (determiner, number, and classifier) that syntactically structure the interpretation of nominal phrases, making nouns out of bare roots in the process.

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                              • Coene, Martine, and Yves D’hulst, eds. 2003. From NP to DP. 2 vols. Linguistik Aktuell 55. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

                                DOI: 10.1075/la.55Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                These collective volumes focus on all things functional within the determiner phrase and on the expression of possession within and by determiner phrases, respectively.

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                                • Crisma, Paola, Lutz Marten, and Rint Sybesma. 2011. The point of Bantu, Chinese and Romance nominal classification. Rivista di Linguistica 23.2: 251–300.

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                                  Class and number are both claimed to serve individuation, which is part of the process turning kind-denoting nominal phrases (NPs) into referring expressions. When, however, fine-grained comparison of class systems is applied, it is shown that classifier languages such as Chinese treat classification in a way significantly different than gender languages, such as Bantu and Romance.

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                                  • Giusti, Giuliana. 2002. The functional structure of noun phrases: A bare phrase structure approach. In Functional structure in DP and IP: The cartography of syntactic structures, Volume 1. Edited by Guglielmo Cinque, 54–90. Oxford Studies in Comparative Syntax. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                    Giusti argues against “determiner” as a unified category, claiming that articles are contentless functional elements inserted in the structure as a last-resort strategy.

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                                    • Ihsane, Tabea. 2008. The layered DP: Form and meaning of French indefinites. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

                                      DOI: 10.1075/la.124Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                      In the spirit of Rizzi’s splitting complementizer into a complementizer field, Ihsane breaks down the determiner category into a number of distinct functional heads in the nominal periphery.

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                                      • Ritter, Elisabeth. 1991. Two functional categories in noun phrases: Evidence from Modern Hebrew. Paper presented at a conference organized by the 1989 summer institute at the Univ. of Arizona, Tucson. In Perspectives on phrase structure: Heads and licensing. Edited by Susan D. Rothstein, 37–62. Syntax and Semantics 25. New York: Academic Press.

                                        DOI: 10.1007/978-94-011-3196-4_3Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                        Ritter makes the case for a number category within the nominal phrase, separate from that of determiner.

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                                        • Zamparelli, Roberto. 2000. Layers in the determiner phrase. Outstanding Dissertations in Linguistics. New York: Garland.

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                                          Zamparelli argues for a number of functional heads, with dedicated interpretations and functions, to replace the category “determiner.”

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                                          Topic and Focus inside the DP

                                          Extending the parallelism between complementizer phrases and determiner phrases, a number of researchers, such as Aboh 2004, have argued that discourse-oriented functional categories, typically identified as nominal topic and nominal focus, can be found inside the DP. Grohmann and Haegeman 2004 extends this claim to Germanic; Grohmann and Panagiotidis 2004, to Greek.

                                          • Aboh, Enoch O. 2004. Topic and focus within D. Linguistics in the Netherlands 21.1: 1–12.

                                            DOI: 10.1075/avt.21.04aboSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                            This paper makes the case for topic and focus projections within the determiner system, whose specifiers host fronted topic and focus constituents; their heads are morphologically realized by articles.

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                                            • Grohmann, Kleanthes K., and Liliane Haegeman. 2004. Resuming reflexives. Nordlyd 31.1: 46–62.

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                                              On the basis of Germanic prenominal possessor doubling, a case for a topic phrase within DP is made.

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                                              • Grohmann, Kleanthes K., and Phoevos Panagiotidis. 2004. Demonstrative doubling in Greek. University of Maryland Working Papers in Linguistics 13:109–134.

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                                                This paper links anaphoric demonstratives with nominal topic and deictic demonstratives with nominal focus.

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                                                Interpretation

                                                The question of how determiners are interpreted is at the same time too complex and too serious to set aside. Approaches are either quantificational and elegantly founded (typically favored by philosophers of language and semanticists) or referential (typically assumed as working hypotheses by syntacticians, who are more concerned about how determiners make nominal expressions refer), or a bit of both. An added complicating factor in this discussion is the divergence between logical determiners (“more than four”) and natural-language determiners, a point of tension that has been extensively explored.

                                                Foundational Matters

                                                Understanding the semantics of determiners is essential if we are to understand both their grammatical function and their syntactic position within nominal structure. The main semantic treatments of determiners investigate (in)definite descriptions with or without determiners and proper names (with classic studies in Milsark 1977 and Carlson 1980, as well as the Russellian take in Neale 1990), or they investigate the (in)dispensability of determiners in encoding referentiality and reference, as discussed in Determiners and Referentiality. Another major area of inquiry is the treatment of determiners as quantifiers, which goes back to Bertrand Russell’s work, a standard overview of which is Neale 1990. The quantificational approach has gained prominence through the framework of Generalized Quantifier Theory of Barwise and Cooper 1981, which turned in empirical results: although natural-language determiners function as quantifiers, their class is only a subset of logically possible quantifiers, restricted by conservativity (Keenan and Stavi 1986, Rothstein 1988) and other factors, which are reviewed in Keenan 1996.

                                                • Barwise, Jon, and Robin Cooper. 1981. Generalized quantifiers and natural language. Linguistics and Philosophy 4.2: 159–219.

                                                  DOI: 10.1007/BF00350139Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                  A classic paper, introducing Generalized Quantifier Theory; it also discusses the relation among quantifiers, noun phrases, and determiners.

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                                                  • Carlson, Gregory N. 1980. Reference to kinds in English. Outstanding Dissertations in Linguistics. New York: Garland.

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                                                    The classic treatment of bare (i.e., determiner-less) nominal phrases.

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                                                    • Keenan, Edward. 1996. The semantics of determiners. In The handbook of contemporary semantic theory. Edited by Shalom Lappin, 41–63. Blackwell Handbooks in Linguistics. Oxford: Blackwell.

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                                                      A survey of the advances in our understanding of the semantics of determiners, as well as of the related empirical discoveries, brought about by Generalized Quantifier Theory. These include a taxonomy of different types of determiners, monotonicity generalizations, conservativity, and the role of extension.

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                                                      • Keenan, Edward L., and Jonathan Stavi. 1986. A semantic characterization of natural language determiners. Linguistics and Philosophy 9.3: 253–326.

                                                        DOI: 10.1007/BF00630273Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                        Natural-language determiners all abide by conservativity: the denotation of determiners is restricted to the domain of quantification of their argument (typically the noun).

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                                                        • Milsark, Gary L. 1977. Toward an explanation of certain peculiarities of the existential construction in English. Linguistic Analysis 3.2: 1–29.

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                                                          The classic paper on the semantics of weak noun phrases (as not quantified), existential sentences, and indefiniteness.

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                                                          • Neale, Stephen. 1990. Descriptions. A Bradford Book. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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                                                            The most detailed argument for Bertrand Russell’s thesis of definite descriptions as quantified expressions.

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                                                            • Rothstein, Susan D. 1988. Conservativity and the syntax of determiners in The syntax and semantics of NPs. Linguistics 26.6: 999–1019.

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                                                              The set of syntactic determiners is not identical to that of determiner denotations.

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                                                              Determiners and Referentiality

                                                              The consensus since Higginbotham 1985 is that determiners are par excellence the elements that make a nominal constituent refer, as captured in Longobardi 1994, with bare nominals referring to kinds, as in Dayal 1999. The question of referential bare nominals is very intimately related to referentiality, and it is extensively revisited in the section On the (Non-)universality of Determiners, where Chierchia 1998, a classic typology of ways in which nominals can refer, is cited.

                                                              • Dayal, Veneeta. 1999. Bare NPs, reference to kinds, and incorporation. Paper presented at the 9th Semantics and Linguistic Theory Conference, held 19–21 February 1999 at the Univ. of California, Santa Cruz. In Proceedings of SALT IX. Edited by Tanya Matthews and Devon Strolovitch, 58–76. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Linguistics Club, Cornell Univ.

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                                                                Bare nominals and indefinites do not always form a natural class, since the former may refer to kinds. Bare nominal quasi-arguments may incorporate in languages such as Hindi.

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                                                                • Higginbotham, James. 1985. On semantics. Linguistic Inquiry 16.4: 547–593.

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                                                                  Determiners saturate nominal predicates, enabling them to refer.

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                                                                  • Longobardi, Giuseppe. 1994. Reference and proper names: A theory of N-movement in syntax and logical form. Linguistic Inquiry 25.4: 609–665.

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                                                                    An influential paper in which determiners, articles in particular, are reaffirmed as the locus of referentiality; moreover, noun-to-determiner movement is correlated with the referential properties of the latter, interacting with the presence of an overt (expletive) determiner.

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                                                                    Definiteness and Specificity

                                                                    Closely related to the referentiality of determiners is their function as markers of definiteness and specificity. Definiteness is introduced and surveyed in Lyons 1999 and in the Oxford Bibliographies article Definiteness, and Heim 1982 provides a solid theoretical alternative to uniqueness-based approaches. At the same time, a definition of specificity is that in Enç 1991, in terms of familiarity, with contributions in Ebert and Hinterwimmer 2012 revealing the cross-linguistic variety and subtlety of expressing it. Turning to the grammatical expression of definiteness and specificity, definite articles are hardly the only way of expressing definiteness, as Abbott 2004 and Chacón 2011 show, and even the existence of a binary (definiteness) feature is doubtful according to Zribi-Hertz 2002. As for specificity, Campbell 1996 was among the first to explore syntactic mechanisms of expressing specificity inside the determiner phrase (DP)—and according to Ihsane and Puskás 2001, these must be kept distinct from those expressing definiteness. Of course, specificity can be encoded with means going well beyond morphosyntactic operations inside the DP, as the classic treatment in Diesing 1992 reveals.

                                                                    • Abbott, Barbara. 2004. Definiteness and indefiniteness. In The handbook of pragmatics. Edited by Laurence R. Horn and Gregory Ward, 122–150. Blackwell Handbooks in Linguistics 16. Oxford: Blackwell.

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                                                                      An overview of the linguistic mechanisms underlying the expression of (in)definiteness. It also surveys related issues and some of the analytical approaches to the question.

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                                                                      • Campbell, Richard. 1996. Specificity operators in SpecDP. Studia Linguistica 50.2: 161–188.

                                                                        DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9582.1996.tb00348.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                        An analysis basing the Specificity Effect on extraction from DP, and predicting that specific nominal predicates are DPs while nonspecific ones are not.

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                                                                        • Chacón, Dustin Alfonso. 2011. Head movement in the Bangla DP. Journal of South Asian Linguistics 4.1: 3–25.

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                                                                          Bangla marks definiteness via NP-movement to the specifier of the determiner phrase; number and classifiers are distinct categories.

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                                                                          • Diesing, Molly. 1992. Indefinites. Linguistic Inquiry Monographs 20. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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                                                                            An investigation of how indefiniteness, a semantic notion, is read off syntactic derivations and scope relations.

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                                                                            • Ebert, Cornelia, and Stefan Hinterwimmer, eds. 2012. Different kinds of specificity across languages. Studies in Linguistics and Philosophy 92. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

                                                                              DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-5310-5Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                              An edited volume exploring cross-linguistic differences in the expression of specificity and its interactions/relations with indefiniteness, both existential and quantificational.

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                                                                              • Enç, Mürvet. 1991. The semantics of specificity. Linguistic Inquiry 22.1: 1–25.

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                                                                                A classic treatment of specificity, understood as familiarity on behalf of the speaker. A contrast is drawn with definiteness, conceived as an identity link with discourse referents.

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                                                                                • Heim, Irene R. The semantics of definite and indefinite noun phrases. PhD diss., University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1982.

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                                                                                  A very influential account of indefinites as variables, and an analysis of definiteness along the lines of file keeping and file change.

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                                                                                  • Ihsane, Tabea, and Genoveva Puskás. 2001. Specific is not definite. Generative Grammar in Geneva 2:39–54.

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                                                                                    Definiteness is syntactically divorced from specificity: not all definites are specific, with separate projections hosting definiteness and specificity features.

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                                                                                    • Lyons, Christopher. 1999. Definiteness. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                      DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511605789Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                      An extensive and thorough survey both of the phenomenon of definiteness and of some literature on it.

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                                                                                      • Zribi-Hertz, Anne. 2002. The DP hypothesis and the syntax of identification. Recherches Linguistiques de Vincennes 31:127–142.

                                                                                        DOI: 10.4000/rlv.428Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                        Definiteness encoded as a binary feature on determiners is argued against.

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                                                                                        Quantification and Determiners

                                                                                        Although perhaps all determiners are generalized quantifiers, not all natural-language quantifiers are determiners. Chapters in Bach, et al. 1995 highlight the dichotomy between determiner quantifiers and adverbial ones, whereas Cardinaletti and Giusti 2006 shows that some quantifiers in Romance languages take themselves DP complements, something that seems to be the case for all quantifiers in Salish, according to Matthewson 2001. Finally, DP-internal quantifying expressions may be rather complex or structurally ambiguous, as Roehrs 2008 shows for Germanic and Martí 2008 demonstrates for Spanish and Portuguese.

                                                                                        • Bach, Emmon, Eloise Jelinek, Angelika Kratzer, and Barbara H. Partee, eds. 1995. Quantification in natural languages. Studies in Linguistics and Philosophy 54. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.

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                                                                                          A collection of now-classic papers revolving around the distinction between determiner quantifiers and adverbial ones. The chapters also deal with cross-linguistic syntactic and morphological variation in quantification and how this fits with assumptions about Universal Grammar.

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                                                                                          • Cardinaletti, Anna, and Giuliana Giusti. 2006. “The syntax of quantified phrases and quantitative clitics.” In The Blackwell companion to syntax. Vol. 5. Edited by Martin Everaert, Henk van Riemsdijk, Rob Goedemans, and Bart Hollebrandse, 23–93. Blackwell Handbooks in Linguistics 19. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

                                                                                            DOI: 10.1002/9780470996591Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                            Existential quantifiers (cardinals and “vague numerals”) that appear with quantitative clitics such as French en are examined. It is claimed that DP-internal quantifiers include dedicated quantifier (Q) heads: existential Q heads combine with quantitative DPs, and universal Qs combine with definite DPs.

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                                                                                            • Martí, Luisa. 2008. The semantics of plural indefinite noun phrases in Spanish and Portuguese. Natural Language Semantics 16.1: 1–37.

                                                                                              DOI: 10.1007/s11050-007-9023-xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                              Following a decompositional approach to Spanish and Portuguese plural indefinites, it is argued that the more structure they contain, the more semantic properties they incorporate: plurality, positive polarity, partitivity, and event distribution.

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                                                                                              • Matthewson, Lisa. 2001. Quantification and the nature of crosslinguistic variation. Natural Language Semantics 9.2: 145–189.

                                                                                                DOI: 10.1023/A:1012492911285Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                Evidence from Salish languages, without determiner-type quantifiers, where quantifiers take whole DP-argument complements, leads Matthewson to reanalyze determiner-type quantifiers in languages such as English, along the lines of this very pattern.

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                                                                                                • Roehrs, Dorian. 2008. Something inner- and cross-linguistically different. Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics 11.1: 1–42.

                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1007/s10828-007-9016-7Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                  Germanic indefinite pronoun constructions (e.g., something good) are found to be more diverse than it appears. They are analyzed as falling into one of three basic patterns: one where indefinite and adjective are combined by complementation, one where they combine by adjunction, and an ordinary DP type.

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                                                                                                  Typological Matters

                                                                                                  If determiners are logically necessary and present in semantic representations, does this necessarily entail that they belong to a uniform syntactic category? There is no a priori answer to such a question, and it will have to be resolved empirically. One of the ways to achieve this is to study variation, to examine and survey in depth the typological diversity that determiner and quasi-determiner elements display cross-linguistically.

                                                                                                  On the (Non-)universality of Determiners

                                                                                                  In a significant number of languages, no articles or article-like elements are to be found, and the classic typology and analysis in Chierchia 1998 captures this elegantly as a matter of parametric choice. Bošković 2008 lays out criteria to decide what the setting of a parameter such as Chierchia’s is. Cheng and Sybesma 1999 argues that classifier languages such as Chinese do not have determiners, and Willim 2000 claims the same for article-less Polish, with Massam, et al. 2006 making the subtle point that nominal functional elements serving article functions do not necessarily qualify as determiners. Pereltsvaig 2007 (for Russian), Progovac 1998 (for Serbian-Croatian), and Rutkowski 2002 (for Polish) virtually make the reverse claim: absence of articles does not entail absence of determiners.

                                                                                                  • Bošković, Željko. 2008. What will you have, DP or NP? Proceedings of NELS 37.1: 101–114.

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                                                                                                    Languages that lack articles lack determiner phrases (DPs) altogether; ten generalizations are presented that correlate with this parametric choice.

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                                                                                                    • Cheng, Lisa Lai-Shen, and Rint Sybesma. 1999. Bare and not-so-bare nouns and the structure of NP. Linguistic Inquiry 30.4: 509–542.

                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1162/002438999554192Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                      An investigation into the determiner-like functions of classifiers in languages such as Chinese; an argument against the universality of DP.

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                                                                                                      • Chierchia, Gennaro. 1998. Reference to kinds across languages. Natural Language Semantics 6.4: 339–405.

                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1023/A:1008324218506Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                        The paper introducing the Nominal Mapping Parameter: in some languages, nominal phrases (NPs) can be argumental; in others, NPs can be only predicative; and in some, both predicative and argumental NPs are allowed.

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                                                                                                        • Massam, Diane, Colin Gorrie, and Alexandra Kellner. 2006. Niuean determiners: Everywhere and nowhere. Paper presented at the 2006 annual conference of the Canadian Linguistic Association, held on 27–30 May 2006 at York Univ., Toronto. In Proceedings of the 2006 annual conference of the Canadian Linguistic Association. Edited by Claire Gurski and Milica Radisic, 1–16. Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press.

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                                                                                                          A description of Niuean as possessing a system in which different article functions are served by different functional elements—none of which qualify as “article.”

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                                                                                                          • Pereltsvaig, Asya. 2007. On the universality of DP: A view from Russian. Studia Linguistica 61.1: 59–94.

                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9582.2007.00129.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                            Article-less Russian is claimed to possess a determiner projection, on the basis of the rigid ordering of adjectives and of the fact that possessives and determiners seem to be hosted by functional projections different from those hosting adjectives.

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                                                                                                            • Progovac, Ljiljana. 1998. Determiner phrase in a language without determiners. Journal of Linguistics 34.1: 165–179.

                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1017/S0022226797006865Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                              Article-less Serbo-Croatian is claimed to possess a determiner projection on the basis of asymmetries between nouns and pronouns: pronouns precede while nouns follow particular intensifying adjectives, assumed to be anchored to a fixed position.

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                                                                                                              • Rutkowski, Paweł. 2002. Noun/pronoun asymmetries: Evidence in support of the DP hypothesis in Polish. Jezikoslovlje 3.1–2: 159–170.

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                                                                                                                Article-less Polish is analyzed as possessing determiners and at least one more functional projection between NP and DP in Polish. As in Progovac 1998 and contra Willim 2000, the argument is built on the basis of word order facts, under the assumption that NP-internal material may move to the D position(s) in order to lexicalize it.

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                                                                                                                • Willim, Ewa. 2000. On the grammar of Polish nominals. In Step by step: Essays on minimalist syntax in honor of Howard Lasnik. Edited by Roger Martin, David Michaels, and Juan Uriagereka, 319–346. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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                                                                                                                  There is neither morphological nor syntactic evidence for a determiner projection in Polish, which is claimed to be neither necessary nor sufficient for the (in)definite reference of nominals to be established.

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                                                                                                                  Determiner Systems Cross-Linguistically

                                                                                                                  Looking at languages beyond the customary battery of Western Germanic and Romance varieties is crucial if we are to get an accurate idea of the distributional and morphosyntactic variation that determiner systems can display in natural language. In this respect, Dryer and Haspelmath 2013 is an indispensable resource on determiner typology. Collections of theoretical work such as Alexiadou and Wilder 1998 also open up the scope of looking at determiner systems. Delsing 1988 reveals and scrutinizes the intricacies of Scandinavian systems, to which we return in the Affixal Articles section, while Borer 1996, Siloni 1997, and Shlonsky 2004 foreground the spreading of determiner-like features inside the DP, a matter revisited in Definiteness Agreement and Determiner Doubling. Anderson and Otsuka 2006 demonstrates that definite determiners can be marked by as minimal an element as stress—recall also Massam, et al. 2006, cited under On the (Non-)universality of Determiners, on the topic of Oceanic languages. Finally, Rooryck 2003 shows that, even within well-studied and seemingly straightforward systems such as Dutch, intricacies abound.

                                                                                                                  • Alexiadou, Artemis, and Chris Wilder, eds. 1998. Possessors, predicates and movement in the determiner phrase. Linguistik Aktuell 22. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1075/la.22Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                    A valuable edited volume, focusing on a variety of determiner phenomena in a number of languages.

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                                                                                                                    • Anderson, Victoria, and Yuko Otsuka. 2006. The phonetics and phonology of “definitive accent” in Tongan. Oceanic Linguistics 45.1: 21–42.

                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1353/ol.2006.0002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                      Although not a paper on syntax, it describes a type of definite determiner in Tongan whose exponence is through stress.

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                                                                                                                      • Borer, Hagit. 1996. The construct in review. In Studies in Afroasiatic languages: Papers from the Second Conference on Afroasiatic Languages, Sophia Antipolis, 1994. Edited by Jacqueline Lecarme, Jean Lowenstamm, and Ur Shlonsky, 30–61. The Hague: Holland Academic Graphics.

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                                                                                                                        The construct state in Hebrew is analyzed in terms of head movement to the determiner, driven by definiteness features.

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                                                                                                                        • Delsing, Lars-Olof. 1988. The Scandinavian noun phrase. Working Papers in Scandinavian Syntax 42:57–79.

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                                                                                                                          A description of (mainland) Scandinavian determiner systems, where articles are analyzed as determiners and suffixal definiteness markers as a distinct category.

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                                                                                                                          • Dryer, Matthew S., and Martin Haspelmath, eds. 2013. The World Atlas of Language Structures Online. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. Accessed on 17 December 2013.

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                                                                                                                            The geographical distribution of a battery of properties of determiners and determiner phrases is typologically surveyed in this monumental, free online resource. In excess of twenty-five chapters are dedicated to issues spanning from properties of determiners themselves to the positioning of genitive phrases within the nominal constituent.

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                                                                                                                            • Rooryck, Johan. 2003. “The morphosyntactic structure of articles and pronouns in Dutch.” In Germania et alia: A linguistic webschrift for Hans den Besten. Edited by Jan Koster and Henk van Riemsdijk, 1–12. Groningen, The Netherlands: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.

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                                                                                                                              Dutch determiner elements are morphosyntactically decomposed into number, gender, definiteness, and proximal/distal morphemes, a methodology that has proved quite influential.

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                                                                                                                              • Shlonsky, Ur. 2004. The form of Semitic noun phrases. Lingua 114.12: 1465–1526.

                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1016/j.lingua.2003.09.019Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                A thorough analysis of phrasal movement of the DP in Hebrew and Arabic, with consequences for the Construct State and the way that determiners function.

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                                                                                                                                • Siloni, Tal. 1997. Noun phrases and nominalizations: The syntax of DPs. Studies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 40. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.

                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1007/978-94-015-8863-8Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                  With emphasis on Hebrew and Semitic in general, different types of nominalization are examined, as well as the functional structure of the determiner phrase.

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                                                                                                                                  Affixal Articles

                                                                                                                                  In some Balkan and Scandinavian languages, articles do not appear in the left edge of the nominal phrase but much lower, suffixed on a lexical element, typically the noun or an adjectival modifier. Their distribution raises interesting questions on the limits of determiner variation. Dobrovie-Sorin 1987 and Grosu 1988 first provided accounts of Romanian affixal articles along the lines of noun movement; Hellan 1986 makes the same claim for Mainland Scandinavian, with Taraldsen 1990 and Hankamer and Mikkelsen 2005 arguing against such an analysis.

                                                                                                                                  • Dobrovie-Sorin, Carmen. 1987. À propos de la structure du groupe nominal en Roumain. Rivista di Grammatica Generativa 12:123–152.

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                                                                                                                                    The first thorough survey of the Romanian suffixal article.

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                                                                                                                                    • Grosu, Alexander. 1988. On the distribution of genitive phrases in Rumanian. Linguistics 26.6: 931–949.

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                                                                                                                                      Romanian determiners assign genitive Case; they are suffixal because the noun head-moves to them.

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                                                                                                                                      • Hankamer, Jorge, and Line Mikkelsen. 2005. When movement must be blocked: A reply to Embick and Noyer. Linguistic Inquiry 36.1: 85–125.

                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1162/0024389052993664Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                        A very detailed argument against deriving affixal articles in Mainland Scandinavian as the result of noun-to-determiner movement.

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                                                                                                                                        • Hellan, Lars. 1986. The headedness of NPs in Norwegian. In Features and projections. Edited by Pieter Muysken and Henk van Riemsdijk, 89–122. Studies in Generative Grammar 25. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Foris.

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                                                                                                                                          The well-known paper arguing for a determiner projection heading the Norwegian nominal phrase, also presenting the core facts on its suffixal article.

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                                                                                                                                          • Taraldsen, Knut T. 1990. D-projections and N-projections in Norwegian. In Grammar in progress: GLOW essays for Henk van Riemsdijk. Edited by Joan Mascaró and Marina Nespor, 419–432. Studies in Generative Grammar 36. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Foris.

                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1515/9783110867848Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                            The case is made for two determiner projections in Norwegian: one above the adjective headed by the article and one below it, with the definite affix as its head.

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                                                                                                                                            Categorization Issues

                                                                                                                                            Although from a philosophy of language-theoretic and even from a semantic point of view, natural-language determiners should form a coherent class (roughly speaking, restricted by conservativity and monotonicity, as we saw in the Interpretation section), morphological and distributional realities compose a richer, subtler, and slightly confusing picture: pronominal clitics sometimes look like articles and sometimes like shortened pronominal forms, pronouns may take nominal complements like articles, and quasi-pronominal reference in nominal ellipsis seems to be mediated by articles. The above and similar concerns have raised the issue of what counts as a member of the syntactic-category determiner and, as we saw in Determiners and (Other) Nominal Functional Heads, of how it interacts with the rest of the nominal structure.

                                                                                                                                            Demonstratives

                                                                                                                                            In English, demonstratives are simply types of determiner heads. This is corroborated by Finnish, where an article is in the process of being created from the demonstrative, as Laury 1997 shows. However, the picture looks different when languages such as Spanish and beyond are examined: Brugè 1996 shows that Spanish demonstratives move to the determiner from inside the determiner phrase (DP), with Bernstein 1997 using the position of reinforcers as a marker of their base position; Panagiotidis 2000 makes the same claim for Greek, where demonstratives may stay low, and Roehrs 2006 does the same for Germanic. Leu 2008 argues for demonstratives as the product of the interaction between the determiner and adjectival structures.

                                                                                                                                            • Bernstein, Judy B. 1997. Demonstratives and reinforcers in Romance and Germanic languages. Lingua 102.2–3: 87–113.

                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1016/S0024-3841(96)00046-0Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                              Demonstratives are argued to originate from the specifier of a reinforcer head inside the nominal phrase and optionally move to a determiner position.

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                                                                                                                                              • Brugè, Laura. 1996. Demonstrative movement in Spanish: A comparative approach. University of Venice Working Papers in Linguistics 6.1: 1–53.

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                                                                                                                                                Demonstratives are base generated in the specifier of a lowest functional projection inside the nominal phrase and bear both deixis and referentiality features.

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                                                                                                                                                • Laury, Ritva. 1997. Demonstratives in interaction: The emergence of a definite article in Finnish. Studies and Discourse in Grammar 7. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1075/sidag.7Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                  An account of how the demonstrative gives rise to an article in modern colloquial Finnish.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Leu, Thomas. 2008. The internal syntax of determiners. PhD diss., New York University.

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                                                                                                                                                    A proposal that demonstratives and some quantifiers are syntactically complex, composed from determiners and adjectival structures.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Panagiotidis, Phoevos. 2000. Demonstrative determiners and operators: The case of Greek. Lingua 110.10: 717–742.

                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1016/S0024-3841(00)00014-0Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                      An argument for the existence of demonstrative operators, originating low inside the nominal phrase, and deictic determiners; accompanied by a sketch of a typology of deictic elements.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Roehrs, Dorian. 2006. The morpho-syntax of the Germanic noun phrase: Determiners move into the determiner phrase. PhD diss., Indiana University.

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                                                                                                                                                        On the basis of Germanic, determiners are analyzed as nominal auxiliaries. Demonstratives and (in)definite articles are base generated in a low article phrase and move to the determiner domain.

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                                                                                                                                                        Pronouns

                                                                                                                                                        Pronouns have been analyzed as determiners or, at least, as determiner-like elements since the publication of Postal 1969. However, Noguchi 1997 argues that they are nouns in Japanese, with Cardinaletti 1994 claiming that pronouns possess complex internal structure. Panagiotidis 2002 argues that they are DPs containing a nondescriptive noun, which triggers pronominal reference, while Déchaine and Wiltschko 2002 attributes the different behavior of different classes of pronouns, surveyed in Koopman 2000, to the number of their functional layers.

                                                                                                                                                        • Cardinaletti, Anna. 1994. On the internal structure of pronominal DPs. Linguistic Review 11.3–4: 195–219.

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                                                                                                                                                          Strong pronouns are analyzed as full DPs with a nominal overtly moving to the determiner position, whereas pronominal clitics are understood to consist of purely functional elements, including determiners.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Déchaine, Rose-Marie, and Martina Wiltschko. 2002. Decomposing pronouns. Linguistic Inquiry 33.3: 409–442.

                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1162/002438902760168554Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                            Pronouns behave differently according to whether they possess a full determiner structure or just a projection of phi features. Pronouns that are bare noun phrases are predicates and are undefined with respect to binding theory.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Koopman, Hilda J. 2000. The internal and external distribution of pronominal DPs. In The syntax of specifiers and heads: Collected essays of Hilda J. Koopman. By Hilda J. Koopman, 77–118. Routledge Leading Linguists. London: Routledge.

                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.4324/9780203171608Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                              An investigation of the movement operations of pronominal DPs and of subconstituents (heads and phrases) inside pronominal DPs. Reprinted in 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Noguchi, Tohru. 1997. Two types of pronouns and variable binding. Language 73.4: 770–797.

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                                                                                                                                                                Japanese pronouns are not determiners, but bare nominal constituents with distinct binding behavior.

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                                                                                                                                                                • Panagiotidis, Phoevos. 2002. Pronouns, clitics and empty nouns: “Pronominality” and licensing in syntax. Linguistik Aktuell 46. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1075/la.46Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                  An argument for pronouns as full DPs and for semantically empty nouns as the trigger of pronominal reference.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Postal, Paul M. 1969. On so-called “pronouns” in English. In Modern studies in English: Readings in transformational grammar. Edited by David A. Reibel and Sanford A. Schane, 201–224. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

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                                                                                                                                                                    The classic paper making the case for pronouns as determiners.

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                                                                                                                                                                    Pronominal Clitics as Determiners

                                                                                                                                                                    Pronominal clitics display striking morphological similarities with articles, so according to Uriagereka 1995, clitic pronouns are articles with a pro complement. At the same time, weak pronouns typically look like shortened pronouns, an observation that informs the tripartite taxonomy of pronominal expression in Cardinaletti and Starke 1999. Laenzlinger and Shlonsky 1997 elaborates on this taxonomy by distinguishing weak pronouns from clitics on the basis of whether the last leg of pronoun movement (as in Corver and Delfitto 1999) is overt or covert.

                                                                                                                                                                    • Cardinaletti, Anna, and Michal Starke. 1999. The typology of structural deficiency: A case study of the three classes of pronouns. In Clitics in the languages of Europe. Edited by Henk van Riemsdijk, 145–233. Empirical Approaches to Language Typology 20.5. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                                                      The famous argument for a three-way distinction within the class of pronominals is made (strong and weak pronouns, pronominal clitics), on the basis of the content of the nominal phrase and on the structure of the functional component.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Corver, Norbert, and Denis Delfitto. 1999. On the nature of pronoun movement. In Clitics in the languages of Europe. Edited by Henk van Riemsdijk, 799–861. Empirical Approaches to Language Typology 20.5. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                                                        Clitic movement is analyzed as triggered by the need to license the nominal pro complement of the clitic determiner.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Laenzlinger, Christopher, and Ur Shlonsky. 1997. Weak pronouns as LF clitics: Clustering and adjacency effects in the pronominal systems of German and Hebrew. Studia Linguistica 51.2: 154–185.

                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1111/1467-9582.00020Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                          Weak pronouns are analyzed on a par with pronominal clitics: both pronominal types originate as DPs that move overtly to their Case position, with the determiner of weak pronouns undergoing further movement only covertly.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Uriagereka, Juan. 1995. Aspects of the syntax of clitic placement in Western Romance. Linguistic Inquiry 26.1: 79–123.

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                                                                                                                                                                            Third-person pronominal clitics are articles that move; they take a nominal pro complement. On the basis of this, the placement restrictions on clitics are examined.

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                                                                                                                                                                            Nominal Ellipsis

                                                                                                                                                                            Going back to Anne Lobeck’s work in the early 1990s, of which Lobeck 2006 offers an overview, Bernstein 1993, Sleeman 1993, and Kester 1996 analyze nominal ellipsis as the result of the nominal phrase (NP) containing a nominal pro-form, with each author proposing a different morphosyntactic licensing mechanism for it. Panagiotidis 2003 claims that the pro-form does not need licensing, and that it licenses functional structure instead. The overt equivalent of this pro-form comprises elements such as one, which Barbiers 2005 offers a thorough account for. The empty version of this pro-form has recently been claimed in Corver and van Koppen 2009 to be licensed by DP-internal focus.

                                                                                                                                                                            • Barbiers, Sjef. 2005. Variation in the morphosyntax of ONE. Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics 8.3: 159–183.

                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1007/s10828-004-6539-zSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                              The different versions of a nominal pro-form (such as English one) are examined, as well as their interaction with number, determiner, and focus in four Germanic varieties.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Bernstein, Judy. 1993. The syntactic role of word markers in null nominal constructions. Probus 5.1–2: 5–38.

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                                                                                                                                                                                Word markers, a syntactic head interacting with determiners, licenses nominal ellipsis.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Corver, Norbert, and Marjo van Koppen. 2009. Let’s focus on noun phrase ellipsis. Groninger Arbeiten zur Germanistischen Linguistik 48:3–26.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  NP ellipsis is argued to be licensed by a focus projection inside the DP; the remnant of NP ellipsis is attracted to the specifier of this focus projection.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Kester, Ellen-Petra. 1996. Adjectival inflection and the licensing of empty categories in DP. Journal of Linguistics 32.1: 57–78.

                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1017/S0022226700000761Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                    An account of nominal ellipsis as involving a null nominal pro, which has to be identified by gender features on the determiner.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    • Lobeck, Anne. 2006. Ellipsis in DP. In The Blackwell companion to syntax. Vol. 2. Edited by Martin Everaert and Henk van Riemsdijk, 145–173. Blackwell Handbooks in Linguistics 19. Oxford: Blackwell.

                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1002/9780470996591Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                      An overview of nominal ellipsis, with an emphasis on accounts in which empty nominals are licensed by morphologically rich determiner or number.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      • Panagiotidis, Phoevos. 2003. Empty nouns. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 21.2: 381–432.

                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1023/A:1023384924981Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                        Semantically empty nominals in ellipsis environments are claimed to trigger (quasi-)pronominal reference and never to need licensing from a determiner or adjectival inflection.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Sleeman, Petra. 1993. Noun ellipsis in French. Probus 5.3: 271–295.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          Nominal ellipsis is argued to be licensed by determiners (including quantifiers) and by adjectives with a partitive interpretation.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          Issues in the Syntax of Determiners

                                                                                                                                                                                          Determiners participate in a number of configurations internal to the nominal phrase. Some of them are straightforwardly related to the particular interpretation of the nominal phrase (NP) as (in)definite, specific, a proper name, and so on. Other syntactic phenomena involving determiners are correlated with the status of the phrase as an argument. A phenomenon of particular interest is the abundance of seemingly pleonastic determiners in the world’s languages and the question of whether they should be treated as meaningful elements or as grammar-internal placeholders. Finally, the nature of doubling dependencies between a determiner and a determiner-like element is intriguing, with the latter element typically materializing in the form of an affix on a modifier. The interpretive effect of such dependencies can be variable and not always obvious, making doubling phenomena among the most-interesting areas of inquiry in the syntax of determiners.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Argumenthood and Expletive Articles

                                                                                                                                                                                          The role of determiners in making nominal constituents suitable to become arguments (Stowell 1991) is closely related to two matters: first, to their interpretation as referential and quantificational elements, works on which are referenced in the Interpretation section; second, to the existence of expletive articles whose role seems to be precisely to license nominal phrases for argumenthood, as first discussed in detail in Vergnaud and Zubizarreta 1992 and further elaborated on in Longobardi 1994 (cited under Determiners and Referentiality). More radically, Panagiotidis 2005 argues that only determiners can be true arguments.

                                                                                                                                                                                          • Panagiotidis, Phoevos. 2005. Determiner heads as arguments and the pronominal argument (macro)parameter. In Advances in Greek generative syntax: In honor of Dimitra Theophanopoulou-Kontou. Edited by Melita Stavrou and Arhonto Terzi, 41–60. Linguistik Aktuell 76. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1075/la.76Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                            All arguments are determiner heads; their surface appearance as full DPs or as affixes is the result of the determiners’ selectional properties.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Stowell, Tim. 1991. Determiners in NP and DP. In Views on phrase structure. Edited by Katherine Leffel and Denis Bouchard, 37–56. Studies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 25. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.

                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1007/978-94-011-3196-4_3Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                              Only determiner phrases (DPs) can be true arguments; bare NPs cannot.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              • Vergnaud, Jean-Roger, and Maria Luisa Zubizarreta. 1992. The definite determiner and the inalienable constructions in French and in English. Linguistic Inquiry 23.4: 595–652.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                This seminal paper makes the distinction between type and token and its correlation with expletive and truly referential determiners.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                Case

                                                                                                                                                                                                The categories of determiner and case, especially in languages with rich case systems, are in close affinity. Giusti 1995 accounts for this by taking determiners to express Case; Travis and Lamontagne 1992 and Bittner and Hale 1996 interpret this as evidence for the existence of a Kase projection dominating determiner phrases. At the same time, Babby 1988 and Larson and Yamakido 2006 present evidence that determiners themselves assign syntactic Case to modifiers inside the nominal phrase.

                                                                                                                                                                                                • Babby, Leonard H. 1988. Noun phrase internal case agreement in Russian. Paper presented at the conference on Agreement in Natural Language held at Stanford University in October 1984. In Agreement in natural language: Approaches, theories, descriptions. Edited by Michael Barlow and Charles A. Ferguson, 287–304. Stanford, CA: CSLI.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  Case mismatches in Russian are taken as evidence for the existence of Case assigned NP-internally by determiners.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Bittner, Maria, and Ken Hale. 1996. The structural determination of case and agreement. Linguistic Inquiry 27.1: 1–68.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    A thorough theoretical account of structural Case, also arguing for a nominal functional projection Kase.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Giusti, Giuliana. 1995. A unified structural representation of (abstract) case and article. Paper presented at the 7th Workshop on Comparative Germanic Syntax, held at the University of Stuttgart in November 1991. In Studies in comparative Germanic syntax. Vol. 1. Edited by Hubert Haider, Susan Olsen, and Sten Vikner, 77–93. Studies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 31. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1007/978-94-015-8416-6Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                      The highest nominal functional head, identified with the article, is argued to be where morphological case is realized.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Larson, Richard K., and Hiroko Yamakido. 2006. Zazaki “double Ezafe” as double case-marking. Paper presented at the Linguistic Society of America conference held on 5–8 January 2006 in Albuquerque, NM.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        DP-internal Case is assigned by a verb-like determiner to the various nominal modifiers.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Travis, Lisa, and Greg Lamontagne. 1992. The case filter and licensing of empty-K. Canadian Journal of Linguistics 37.2: 157–174.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          An argument for a nominal complementizer head, K(ase).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          Determiner Spreading and Polydefiniteness

                                                                                                                                                                                                          In Balkan languages such as Greek, more than one article may optionally appear inside a nominal phrase, typically preceding adjectival modifiers. Alexiadou and Wilder 1998 and Kolliakou 2004 show that the interpretation of such structures is distinct to that of equivalent simplex nominal phrases; this fact has led researchers to pursue analyses of these structures as restrictive (Alexiadou and Wilder 1998, Kolliakou 2004) or as predicative (Campos and Stavrou 2004, Panagiotidis and Marinis 2011). Beyond their language-specific interest, polydefiniteness/determiner-spreading phenomena have been argued in Campos and Stavrou 2004, Larson and Yamakido 2006 (referenced under Case), and Panagiotidis and Marinis 2011 to shed light on the organization of nominal constituents in general.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Alexiadou, Artemis, and Chris Wilder. 1998. Adjectival modification and multiple determiners. In Possessors, predicates and movement in the determiner phrase. Edited by Artemis Alexiadou and Chris Wilder, 303–332. Linguistik Aktuell 22. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1075/la.22Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Determiner Spreading is analyzed as a reduced relative clause; perhaps the most influential analysis of the phenomenon.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Campos, Héctor, and Melita Stavrou. 2004. Polydefinite constructions in Modern Greek and in Aromanian. In Balkan syntax and semantics. Edited by Olga M. Tomić, 136–173. Linguistik Aktuell 67. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1075/la.67Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                              A comparative look at Greek and Aromanian polydefiniteness as a predicative structure, with implications for Romanian and beyond.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Kolliakou, Dimitra. 2004. Monadic definites and polydefinites: Their form, meaning and use. Journal of Linguistics 40.2: 263–323.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1017/S0022226704002531Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Polydefinite (this paper introduces the term) constructions are analyzed as invariably imposing a restrictive interpretation.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Panagiotidis, Phoevos, and Theodore Marinis. 2011. Determiner spreading as DP-predication. Studia Linguistica 65.3: 268–298.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9582.2011.01186.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Determiner Spreading is analyzed as a predicative construction involving two DPs.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Definiteness Agreement and Determiner Doubling

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Multiple definite articles within a DP are obligatory in certain contexts in Mainland Scandinavian, Romanian, Hebrew, and French, as explored in Santelmann 1993, Dobrovie-Sorin 2000, and D’hulst, et al. 2000. Danon 2010 argues against the uniform account of the phenomenon cross-linguistically and treats it in terms of a morphosyntactic definiteness feature in Hebrew. Ó Donnachadha 2007 describes the reverse phenomenon in Irish: an obligatory ban on two definite articles within the same DP. Ezafe-type phenomena, described in Trommer 1999 for Albanian and in Larson and Yamakido 2008 for Iranian, appear to involve different mechanisms than definiteness spreading, resembling it only superficially.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Danon, Gabi. 2010. The definiteness feature at the syntax–semantics interface. In Features: Perspectives on a key notion in linguistics. Edited by Anna Kibort and Greville G. Corbett, 143–165. Oxford Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199577743.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Definiteness-spreading constructions in Hebrew are accounted for by positing the existence of a morphosyntactic definiteness feature. Definiteness spreading can be the sharing of this feature via a mechanism that does not make any reference to semantic definiteness.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • D’hulst, Yves, Martine Coene, and Liliane Tasmowski. 2000. Last resort strategies in DP: Article reduplication in Romanian and French. In Comparative studies in Romanian syntax. Edited by Virginia Motapanyane, 135–176. North-Holland Linguistic Series 58. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A second, possessor article is inserted in Romanian when movement of a genitive DP argument is blocked, like Santelmann 1993 claims for Mainland Scandinavian. A similar mechanism is posited for article reduplication with postnominal superlatives in French.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Dobrovie-Sorin, Carmen. 2000. (In)definiteness spread: From Romanian genitives to Hebrew construct state nominals. In Comparative studies in Romanian syntax. Edited by Virginia Motapanyane, 177–226. North-Holland Linguistic Series 58. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Definiteness spreading is analyzed as abiding by two constraints: (1) under what conditions the specifier of DP can be filled and (2) by what material the specifier of DP can be filled.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Larson, Richard, and Hiroko Yamakido. 2008. Ezafe and the deep position of nominal modifiers. In Adjectives and adverbs: Syntax, semantics, and discourse. Edited by Louise McNally and Christopher Kennedy, 43–70. Oxford Studies in Theoretical Linguistics 19. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The ezafe morpheme, a DP-internal linking element in languages such as Farsi, is analyzed as an assigner of DP-internal Case.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Ó Donnachadha, Gearóid. 2007. A feature valuation approach to the prohibition on two definite determiners in genitive noun phrases in Irish. Paper presented in the National Centre for Language Technology Seminar Series, Dublin City University, 18 July 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            An account of the ban on two definite articles inside the same DP in Irish. Available online.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Santelmann, Lynn. 1993. The distribution of double determiners in Swedish: Den support in D°. Studia Linguistica 47.2: 154–176.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9582.1993.tb00844.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The suffixed definite marker in Mainland Scandinavian must be doubled by the prenominal article only when the noun plus the suffixed marker cannot raise into D.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Trommer, Jochen. 1999. The post-syntactic morphology of the Albanian pre-posed article: Evidence for distributed morphology. Paper presented at the 3rd Conference on Formal Approaches to South Slavic and Balkan Languages, University of Plovdiv, Plovdiv.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Preposed articles in Albanian, with functions reminiscent of ezafe, are given a theoretical account.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In Diachrony

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Work on the diachrony of determiners focuses on the grammaticalization cline that yields articles from demonstratives and pronouns, as in Greenberg 1978. Epstein 1993 provides commentary, Frajzyngier 1996 supplies an extension, and De Mulder and Carlier 2011 present a recent survey of this process, while Roberts and Roussou 2003 offer a generative account thereof. A different strand of research investigates the changing structure of determiner phrases (DPs), especially in languages with sufficient diachronic data, as Manolessou 2000 does for Greek and Gianollo 2005 does for Latin. Other issues on the diachrony of determiners, and beyond classical languages, are examined in Alexiadou 2004 (possessive determiners) and in van Kemenade and Vincent 1997.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Alexiadou, Artemis. 2004. On the development of possessive determiners: Consequences for DP structure. In Diachronic clues to synchronic grammar. Edited by Eric Fuß and Carola Trips, 31–58. Linguistik Aktuell 72. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1075/la.72Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Possessive determiners in English, French, and German are argued to develop from adjectival possessors when their agreement features are weakened and the category “determiner” emerges.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • De Mulder, Walter, and Anne Carlier. 2011. The grammaticalization of definite articles. In The Oxford handbook of grammaticalization. Edited by Heiko Narrog and Bernd Heine, 522–534. Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A recent summary of what we know on the diachrony of articles and the grammaticalization processes creating them.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Epstein, Richard. 1993. The definite article: Early stages of development. In Historical linguistics 1991: Papers from the 10th International Conference on Historical Linguistics, Amsterdam, 12–16 August 1991. Edited by Jaap van Marle, 111–134. Amsterdam Studies in the Theory and History of Linguistic Science. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1075/cilt.107Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A very interesting commentary on the Greenbergian schema of how determiner elements develop diachronically.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Frajzyngier, Zygmunt. 1996. On sources of demonstratives and anaphors. In Studies in anaphora. Edited by Barbara A. Fox, 169–203. Typological Studies in Language 33. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        An extension of the Greenbergian schema, seeking to establish the diachronic source of demonstratives and anaphors.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Gianollo, Chiara. 2005. Constituent structure and parametric resetting in the Latin DP: A diachronic study. PhD diss., University of Pisa.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A work that traces the subtle parametric changes diachronically affecting the Latin DP. It focuses on (genitive) case position(s) within the DP, types of adjectival modification, and the ordering restrictions among adjectives. Although genitive case morphology remains fairly stable, the prenominal and postnominal distribution of genitives in Classical Latin gives way to consistently postnominal genitives in Late Latin genitives.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Greenberg, Joseph H. 1978. How does a language acquire gender markers? In Universals of human language. Vol. 3, Word structure. Edited by Joseph H. Greenberg, Charles A. Ferguson, and Edith A. Moravcsik, 47–82. Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The classic description of how demonstratives develop into articles and, subsequently, gender markers.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Manolessou, Ioanna. 2000. Greek noun phrase structure: A study in syntactic evolution. PhD diss., Cambridge University.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A detailed and systematic discussion of the evolution of the Greek DP from Homeric Greek to the present, with valuable discussion on the diachrony of the Greek determiner and the structures it participates in.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Roberts, Ian, and Anna Roussou. 2003. Syntactic change: A minimalist approach to grammaticalization. Cambridge Studies in Linguistics 100. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511486326Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Chapter 4 (pp. 131–193) offers a reinterpretation of the Greenbergian schema as syntactic change.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • van Kemenade, Ans, and Nigel Vincent, eds. 1997. Parameters of morphosyntactic change. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Chapters by Werner Abraham, Nigel Vincent, and Julia Philippi offer perspectives on the diachronic changes affecting determiners in a number of languages.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The Acquisition of Determiners

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Investigations of the L1 acquisition of determiners focus on when determiners and determiner features are acquired by children, as in Eisenbeiss 2000 and Valian, et al. 2009; Tsimpli and Stavrakaki 1999 discusses the timing of determiner acquisition against the background of Specific Language Impairment (SLI). Work on acquisition also discusses the theoretical implications emerging from L1 acquisition facts, as in Penner and Weissenborn 1996, Armon-Lotem 1998, and Marinis 2003. Work on the emergence of complex structures with determiners is rarer, including Marinis 2003 (Greek Determiner Spreading) and Anderssen 2007 (Norwegian double definiteness).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Anderssen, Merete. 2007. The acquisition of compositional definiteness in Norwegian. Nordlyd 34.3: 252–275.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Norwegian double definiteness is acquired differentially: the prenominal definiteness marker is acquired later than the suffixed definiteness marker.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Armon-Lotem, Sharon. 1998. Mommy sock in a minimalist eye: On the acquisition of DP in Hebrew. In Issues in the theory of language acquisition: Essays in honor of Jürgen Weissenborn. Edited by Norbert Dittmar and Zvi Penner, 15–36. Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A minimalist account of the L1 acquisition of the determiner phrase (DP) in Hebrew.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Eisenbeiss, Sonja. 2000. The acquisition of the DP in German child language. In The acquisition of syntax: Issues in comparative developmental linguistics. Edited by Marc-Ariel Friedemann and Luigi Rizzi, 26–62. Longman Linguistics Library. London: Longman.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        On the basis of the acquisition of DPs in German, it is argued that, initially, determiners emerge underspecified for their features.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Marinis, Theodore. 2003. The acquisition of the DP in Modern Greek. Language Acquisition and Language Disorders 31. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1075/lald.31Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A thorough study of the development of Greek determiners, as well as of how configurations within the Greek DP emerge.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Penner, Zvi, and Jürgen Weissenborn. 1996. Strong continuity, parameter setting and the trigger hierarchy: On the acquisition of the DP in Bernese Swiss German and High German. In Generative perspectives on language acquisition: Empirical findings, theoretical considerations and crosslinguistic comparisons. Edited by Harald Clahsen, 161–200. Language Acquisition and Language Disorders 14. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1075/lald.14Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A detailed account of the acquisition of determiners, on the basis of Bernese Swiss German and High German.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Tsimpli, Ianthi Maria, and Stavroula Stavrakaki. 1999. The effects of a morphosyntactic deficit in the determiner system: The case of a Greek SLI child. Lingua 108.1: 31–85.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1016/S0024-3841(98)00041-2Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              L1 acquisition by SLI children suggests that the determiner system is only partially affected: determiners encoding interpretable features are spared.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Valian, Virginia, Stephanie Solt, and John Stewart. 2009. Abstract categories or limited-scope formulae? The case of children’s determiners. Journal of Child Language 36.4: 743–778.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1017/S0305000908009082Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Determiners are present in the speech of L1 English children from the beginning of their combinatorial speech.

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